Photo: Evan Krape/University of Delaware
In a new article out from Princeton Alumni Weekly , Chun (Tracy) Liu (B.S. Chem '10) didn’t have one set dream as a child. She developed an interest in art early in life. Her father was an antiques dealer and aesthete. He taught her how to paint. Liu was also interested in chemistry and had dreams of becoming a doctor. She had yet another talent: figure skating. She began training at age 6. Her multitude of interests has informed her journey through the arts and sciences.
Liu majored in chemistry as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley. She fell in love with organic chemistry and decided to continue her studies at Princeton. She worked in the lab group of David MacMillan, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2021 for his groundbreaking work in the field. Despite her passion for science, Liu still felt drawn to the arts. After earning her Ph.D. from Princeton, she began a master’s in art conservation at the University of Delaware.
It was the perfect blend of art and science. She actually had her sights set on the program for some time, but it’s a tough field to break into. There are only a few programs in art conservation in North America, Liu says, so it’s common to apply multiple times before acceptance. This precarity marks the professional field too. As part of her application to the program in 2017, Liu began a project conserving a painting by the French artist Paul Signac....